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How to Support Your Partner Through Menopause

The Menopausal Transition can be tough, and can put a strain on relationships. Let’s explore how to support your partner through menopause.

By Sally Stankovic and Dr Kelly Teagle

Whilst it’s not altogether unexpected, when menopause eventually arrives it can be surprising, unpleasant, and more than a little emotional.  “Hot flushes” have always headlined the stages of menopausal transition but as many of us are discovering, there’s so much more to it. From physical pain to mental and emotional distress, women are swinging between irritation, confusion and tears.

Struggling to maintain relationships. Struggling with their mental health. Struggling to keep their careers. And a huge one: struggling with their self-identity.

The Psychological Adjustments of Menopause

The aging process is no easy pill to swallow. While we all agree that getting old is the goal, it can still be discombobulating to see an older face in the mirror and yet feel so young inside. Or struggle to move as easily as we once did not so long ago. We could be regretting the dream we didn’t pursue. Maybe, life just didn’t turn out the way we thought it would.

It’s a highly personal journey and compounded with the menopause transition, we become sensitive and emotional, and often withdraw. Our partners meanwhile, are scratching their heads wondering what they’ve done “wrong”. We all turn inwards and self-soothe from time to time, but if we’re not communicating with our other halves, there can be a lot of hurt feelings, cross-words and misunderstandings.

It can be a tough time for women, but can be equally as tough on the men who care about them. The woman may not even realise that she’s in perimenopause until she puts the pieces of the puzzle into place, perhaps with a little help from Dr Google and YouTube. Let down also by health practitioners from a lack of information, a lack of diagnosis, and in some cases, an outright denial of symptoms, if we don’t even understand what’s going on with our bodies, how could our partners possibly know?

What’s Actually Happening to Her?

The menopause transition is a normal life stage for anyone born with ovaries. It’s a time when their hormones change and estrogen levels drop, signaling that the reproductive years will soon be over. During perimenopause (the lead up to menopause), the ovaries prepare to stop releasing eggs. At menopause, the body stops releasing eggs entirely. 

This usually happens between the ages of 45 – 55, and while symptoms can and do vary (some women experience very few symptoms, others a lot), one thing is certain – it can significantly affect our relationships, in particular, those with our partners.

What might start out as mild fatigue, the occasional sleepless night or a hot flush here and there (symptoms will vary), can gradually develop into a whole range of worsening symptoms including weight gain, migraines, sleep disturbance, hot flushes, bladder issues, loss of libido, mood changes and breast or joint pain.

From puberty and getting periods to mid-life and menopause, the stories are similar: hormonal changes, mood swings, and physical pain. Except, where once we were dreading the period leaks and stains, now we’re dreading hot flushes, headaches, breast lumps and cervical issues. All just as confusing as once upon a time, back in our youth…welcome to “reverse puberty!”.

What is the Impact of Menopause on Male Partners?

According to “The MATE survey: “men’s perceptions and attitudes towards menopause and their role in partners’ menopausal transition”*, “63% (284/450) of survey respondents reporting that their partner’s symptoms had personally affected them. Specifically, men affected by menopausal symptoms noted that the symptoms put an emotional strain on their relationships (34%; arguments, unappreciated, tension, etc), reduced the frequency of sex/intimacy (33%), and contributed to trouble sleeping (10%).

Some men (11%) noted that it was upsetting or frustrating to see their partners going through this transition. Most men affected by menopausal symptoms believed the symptoms had a very or somewhat negative impact on them (77%), their relationships (56%), or their partners (70%). Approximately 10% of men thought the symptoms had a positive influence on them, their relationships, and partners.”

In another study, “Husbands’ support of their perimenopausal wives”, most of the 96 participants said they had some information about menopause (mostly gained from their wives), but more than 1 in 4 knew little or nothing. One third of the husbands didn’t think they were supportive, but the majority said they provided mostly emotional support. They reported numerous stressors in their lives, including work and financial problems and declining health and sexual response. Lack of information, negative effects of their wives’ menopausal transition, and their own stresses may have interfered with husbands’ ability to provide social support.

In a third study, “Attitude towards menopause among married middle-aged adults”, it was the wives who generally expressed a more positive attitude towards menopause than their husbands, and with more symptoms than their husbands thought they were having.  For both women and men, a more positive attitude towards menopause was associated with women who reported fewer symptoms.

It would be easy (and unfair) to generalise by saying that men just need to show a little more understanding and compassion, but it’s not that simple. Clear communication really does benefit both parties and is the responsibility of both. All relationships go through tests and trials, and many can come through the other side stronger than before. The fact is, menopause has a huge impact on a woman’s physical and mental health, and even her life expectancy, so it certainly pays to make the effort.

Tips to help your support your partner through menopause


Learn as much as you can about perimenopause and menopause to understand her experience.

Menopause causes changes in the female body, mainly through the decreased production of estrogen. Some women have very few symptoms and it’s over quickly, while others can be hit with a host of unpleasantries that last a long time. Understanding the symptoms can help you recognise them as they arise, and anticipate how they will affect your partner.

Start your learning about peri menopause and menopause, with WellFemme’s “Menopause Bootcamp” webinar and our range of informative blog posts.

You might like to watch the series of expert presentations from the 2023 “Menopause Uncensored” Summit too. Session 2, which included Mental Health, Relationships and Sex is a particularly good one to watch together.


Ask your partner directly how they are feeling, and how you can support them. Understand that their mood swings may be driven by the changes in their hormones, and be erratic and disproportionate to the issue at hand. Try to stay compassionate and supportive rather than reactive.

Sexual Issues

A lot is going on “down there” for her, much of which she may not want to open up about. She may have lost her libido or sex may even have become painful.

Be patient. There are other ways to enjoy intimacy in the meantime.

Find out more in our Blog post and Webinar about Sexual Problems At Menopause.


Encourage (and model) healthy lifestyle changes and activity such as strength training, walking, dancing or yoga – or suggest an activity you could do together. Try to keep some playfulness and fun in your together time; suggest something new to break out of stale routines and unhelpful habits.

Be prepared to suggest some professional help if necessary. Be open and sensitive with her about what you’re seeing and ask if she thinks a professional opinion might be helpful. As a startpoint you might suggest that she try WellFemme’s free Menopause Health Assessment tool, which has useful links and suggestions targeting a range of symptoms.

Keep in mind that mental health conditions often begin or worsen in the menopausal transition, and that this is the peak age group for suicide in women. If she has worrying mental health signs then she may need your support to access care quickly; start with her usual GP.

Partners should seek support for themselves too. You’re not the only one struggling to work out what’s going on with a menopausal partner, so why not try opening up that conversation with friends at similar life-stage and see what happens. You might feel pleasantly validated.

Why is this so Important?

Because you care about her, so her well-being matters. Because she’s the other half of the team. Because she needs your support right now, navigating this uncomfortable time. You can make a huge difference to her experience simply by being alongside her for the journey.

There is help available for your partner during this time: knowledgeable health professionals, lifestyle modifications, daily movement, nutrition, supplements, hormonal and non-hormonal treatments can all help alleviate symptoms, and improve future health.

She’ll work it out, and if you remain engaged and supportive you’ll come through it together, perhaps even stronger than before.



* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6791510/


* https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J013v36n04_05

What is WellFemme About?

If you can’t find the professional help you need for your menopause or perimenopausal symptoms then book a Telehealth consultation with an expert WellFemme menopause doctor.

WellFemme is Australia’s first dedicated Telehealth menopause clinic, servicing locations nationwide including: Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Perth, Hobart, Brisbane, Dubbo, Bendigo, Broken Hill, Broome, Alice Springs, Launceston, Cairns, Mildura, Lightning Ridge, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Toowoomba, Charleville, Port Headland, Katherine, Ballarat, Coober Pedy, Bourke, Albury… and your place! 🙂

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